Employee Testimonial Meet Ralf Hufschmidt, Manager HR SSC Germany Ralf is 46 years old, married, and lives together with his wife, three cats and three chickens in the beautiful Eifel Mountains in Germany, near the Belgian border. He loves mountaineering, mountain biking, good food and wine, and car racing. He is now Manager of the German HR Shared Service Center. Manager HR SSC Germany At Business Area AkzoNobel Works in Germany At AkzoNobel since 1988 "It is the people who make the difference" Ralf joined AkzoNobel 28 years ago as an apprentice for office management at one of the German chemicals sites. After his two-year training, he started his career in purchasing. Ralf quickly took over a role with more responsibility and also became a people manager after just a few years.Within his purchasing career, he built up a German procurement network for travel, telecommunication, fleet and a lot of other product groups. He was responsible as lead buyer for PR material, arranged the energy procurement for all German sites, ran several investment projects and cost reduction programs.After a successful career in purchasing, Ralf made a side step and was appointed as site manager for the Dueren site, belonging to Pulp & Performance Chemicals (PPC). He very quickly proved that it is not necessary to have a technical background to do an outstanding job as a site manager. In 2014, Ralf additionally also took over as site manager of Mannheim, another German PPC site.At both sites, much of Ralf’s work was about divestments, closures of productions lines and restructurings, but also customer management, as Dueren hosts several tenants within the industrial park. A big project was the sale of the alkenyl succinic anhydride (ASA) business and plant to the Italian Mare group, where Ralf was responsible as project manager.For Ralf, it was even more important to be a great people manager in challenging times – to be inspiring, honest and kind to people in order to develop a high-performing and highly engaged team.In June 2015, Ralf took on a completely new and exciting challenge: Manager of the German HR Shared Service Center. One of his missions is to make sure that HR Services is all about the business and customer needs.